This is a guest post from writer Melissa Davis.

The luckiest people in the world are those who know how to forgive. To let go of the negativity and hurt that others have caused us, is to enable ourselves to grow and live and a full and happy life. Forgiving ourselves, however, can be a much more challenging task, since far from involving an absolution of past actions, it involves bravely facing them, accepting responsibility for the harm we have caused, and moving forward in a more enlightened manner.

-To let go of the negativity and hurt

According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness wields many positive benefits, including healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological wellbeing, lower blood pressure, lesser symptoms of depression and better heart health and immunity. We can avail of these benefits by forgiving others and ourselves.

Experts say that the first step in the process of self-forgiveness, is accepting that we have done wrong and seeing how our actions may have hurt others or ourselves. At this stage, we should not judge ourselves too harshly; we should always remember that all human beings are better than their very worst action. All humans make mistakes.

The next step it to try to let those we have harmed, know that we are sincerely sorry for our actions. We should let them know that we regret what we have done, and that we intend on behaving differently in the future. We should be prepared for a negative reaction; for some people forgiveness can be incredibly difficult, especially if apologies and forgiveness were not forthcoming in their own homes as they were growing up. Even if we are rejected, we should be completely committed to treating others with kindness, empathy and compassion. True forgiveness is unconditional, so that when we aim to forgive ourselves, we should not be dissuaded by negative reactions from those around us.

Finally, we can reaffirm our decision to live more positively by using imagery exercises. We can imagine ourselves as a child in a beautiful field, whom we approach slowly. When the child turns around, we should approach them and embrace them, letting them know they are worthy of unconditional love and forgiveness. It is never too late to live a more dedicated, committed life, or to be kinder and more empathetic towards others. In order to do so, we need to clear the emotional blockages that stand in the way of forgiveness.